Tag: depression

the thoughts that were my scourge (excerpt)

Evan Dara’s THE LOST SCRAPBOOK 271-73

…Ray came in, and we quickly embraced…his warmth and big-boned huskiness, solid beneath his Harris Tweed blazer, comforted me…he smelled, as always, very good…lacquery, grainy…I steered him to the divan in the living room, and offered him something to drink…but I did not have the cranberry juice he requested, so he said he would wait…and we caught up on some day-to-day this and that, and then, not really intending to start just yet, it came…and now that it was coming, I let it go…I did not want the pointillist discourse of everyday, I loosed myself in waves…for minutes in a row, I felt what it felt like to eddy…to empty…and I attempted, above all, to get at the truth, not the masquerade that declares itself as genuineness when, habitually, the truth is invoked, but a wholesale leveling of the artifices of personality, a selfless plunge into…into what I had thought must remain forever hidden, to the substance of what I had always kept in shadow…to that point where self becomes sorrow…to my fear that I was so essentially distanced from all other people that I had been consigned to a lifetime of solitude…to my sense that something within me sought to poison all good times with awareness and analysis, while leaving all bad times undiluted and pure, and therefore miraculously potent…to my certainty that awareness had made me incapable of marshaling the ambition and the cruelty necessary to excel, or even to survive, in this world…and I told him of my fear that I could never let my thoughts out, to share them with others, because anyone who heard them would become infected by them, would become infected by me, by my disease…for I was a virulent agent…and I told him of my even greater fear that my listeners would not become infect, that they would not understand, because the rift was so great that nothing could get across…and I told him of my inability to participate in the simple rituals of life, the talking and transacting, the dressing and greeting and circulating, the blisses of the commonplace, because I was always denying and denigrating…and how I felt as if I was being punished for the sin of understanding, that my virtue was my undoing…but also how I took a secret pride in the thoughts that were my scourge…and how I have never felt there was a place for me, a genuine place, anywhere — but rather that I had been torn from my time and left flapping and tumbling in history’s slipstream…and I talked of my certainty that there were other people who felt as I did, very much the same, but that even if we found each other it wouldn’t matter, it wouldn’t make a difference…for it was too late…and I told him of my horrible fear that my struggle had rendered me incapable of achieving my struggle’s objectives, that the process was irremediably undermining the goal…that my spine was being progressively mangled by my efforts to stand up straight…and I talked of hating this quicksand consciousness…but of the fear that my self-definition derived, to a terrifying degree, from it…from its pure destructiveness…and I talked…and I talked…


essay canon dispatch no. 8 — “On Being a Cripple” by Nancy Mairs (80’s)

image found here

[CN: ableism, objectification, depression, suicide]

If you only got time for one of the essays in the CNF Canon, make it this one.

One cant predict link rot, and the only place where i can find the 1983 essay is this tumblr blog post. Much thanks to them! The only other location i found was a pdf scan of an excerpt for an AP english exam. Like the canon article says, these essays are among other things really teachable. It’s wild to go to Nancy Mairs’s writing voice after WCW — this is decidedly un-experimental; the writing is tight, clear, emotionally mature and well organized. It is this direct and confident quality that struck me the most, and provoked an intensely personal response.